INDIO — Less than 24 hours before an official recount was to commence of the ballots cast on Nov. 6 for Indio City Council, former Mayor Michael H. Wilson cancelled it, he confirmed for Uken Report.
The recount was scheduled to begin at 9 a.m. Tuesday, Dec. 18.
“All good things in life must come to an end,” Wilson told Uken Report. “… It is time to retire.”
This closes the door on a 21-year career of public service to the city of Indio as both a mayor and City Councilmember. Wilson was the second-longest serving elected official in city history.
“After careful consideration with my wife, children, and grandchildren, I have decided to end the recount process,” Wilson told Uken Report. “Public service has been my life, serving 22 years in the Fire Service and 21 years as a mayor and Councilmember. My wife, children, and grandchildren have only known me as a mayor and Councilmember. It’s time to re-prioritize my life to God, faith, and family and be known as husband, dad, and papa.
“Serving Indio and its residents has been the honor of a lifetime,” Wilson said. “Ultimately, the residents and voters choose who their elected representatives are and I respect their decision. Only history will reveal whether they made the right choice in this election. Certainly this election was close and very far from any mandate. This election showed Indio still has a strong conservative base.”
Wilson said his opponent’s agenda of marijuana on every Indio street corner, Sanctuary City policies, and taking God and faith out of the City Council Chambers and the Town Square will be a huge mistake for Indio and take the city backward 20 years.
“One wrong decision will quickly (take) away 148 voters and their support, the difference in this election,” Wilson said. “My supporters and Indio residents will be watching closely and will react when necessary.”
Though not in an elected capacity, Wilson vowed to stay involved in the local political scene —and in some cases be a stronger advocate of conservative values. He will be there to remind Indio’s Hispanic community that their values and conservative values go hand in hand, Wilson said.
“There is one fact in politics and that’s 50 percent percent of the voters love you and 50 percent of the voters hate you,” Wilson said. “For me, my enemies will not define me nor impact my life as I will concentrate on taking the high road always and enjoying life with my friends, supporters, and loved ones.”
Additionally, Wilson said, “I wish the city of Indio nothing but success and the best for the future as I have always fought for Indio and our residents first. Driving through Indio on almost every street and street corner, I can see my legacy and accomplishments and nobody can ever take that away. I have served with distinction, honor, and with great success in all the work that I have been involved with in Indio and the region. I leave with many great memories, friendships, and connections that will last a lifetime, and leave the city of Indio in a very strong position, that I’ve fought for, and in great hands with the incredible staff that make Indio the very best.”
Wilson had asked for an official hand count and review of the absentee ballots cast, a review of the absentee envelopes, and a review of the challenged absentee ballots.
The total cost for Day 1 of the recount would have cost $2,632, Spencer said. Critics alleged he would use campaign contributions to pay for the recount and lambasted him for such a move.
Waymond Fermon, who beat Wilson in District 2, was sworn into office last week.
Wilson said on more than one occasion he had seen some irregularities in the absentee ballots, including apparent ballot harvesting, and he wanted to see those ballots during an official recount.
Riverside County Registrar of Voters Rebecca Spencer told Uken Report she had seen “no irregularities” in any of the ballots cast in the Nov. 6 election. Until he cancelled the recount, Wilson was the only candidate in the county seeking a recount.
“Since the start of this campaign, we’ve had full confidence in the process,: Job Huerta, director of Voter Engagement for the Committee to Elect Waymond Fermon, said in a blanket email to media. “There is a lot of work to be done in order to create the communities our residents deserve. We are already working to fulfill that mission and look forward to the future of Indio.”
In the wake of Wilson’s call for a recount he was ridiculed and chastised on social media and in the mainstream media.
Tizoc DeAztlan, Fermon’s campaign adviser told Uken Report, “The residents have spoken … Despite the clear margin of victory, we understand not everyone is ready to move forward. We are hopeful that the end of this process brings them the clarity they deserve.”